Matthew Pouliot

Ryu Hyun-Jin

Dodgers sign Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36 million

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For all of the bluster, there was never really any doubt this would get done: the Dodgers signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu just before the Sunday afternoon deadline.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports that it’s a six-year, $36 million contract that includes an opt out after five years if Ryu tops a certain number of innings.

The Dodgers bid $25.7 million for Ryu’s rights last month after he was posted by his team in Korea. He went 9-9 with a 2.66 ERA and 210 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings for Hanwha last season.

The 25-year-old Ryu can’t necessarily be penciled into a rotation that’s set to include Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Josh Beckett, with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly coming back from injuries. The team also has Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang available as starters, but with a payroll set to come in around $250 million, those guys are expendable.

Ryu could open the year in the pen and then move into the rotation later, or it’s possible he’ll be needed right away if either Billingsley or Lilly requires additional rehab time. Given that Ryu hasn’t thrown 200 innings in a season since 2007, it might be for the best if he spends the first month or so working in relief.

Here’s some Korean footage of Ryu striking out 13 batters in a game:

Report: Andruw Jones signs with Japanese team

Andruw Jones
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Nikkansports.com is reporting that the Rakuten Golden Eagles and Andruw Jones have come to terms on a one-year deal worth 300 million yen, or approximately $3.6 million.

If so, Jones becomes one of the biggest MLB stars ever to make the jump to Japan. The 35-year-old hit .197/.294/.408 with 14 homers and 34 RBI in 233 at-bats for the Yankees last season. Because of his late-season struggles, he probably wasn’t looking at much more than a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the U.S. He can also play regularly in Japan, an opportunity no MLB team has offered him since his horrible 2008 season with the Dodgers.

Jones, who was on a Hall of Fame path prior to 2008, has hit .254/.337/.486 with 434 homers and 1,289 RBI in 17 major league seasons. He won a Gold Glove 10 straight years from 1998-2007.

(hat-tip to NPB Tracker)

A’s, Stephen Drew talking one-year deal with player option

Stephen Drew
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser and CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman are reporting that the A’s and Stephen Drew are discussing a one-year deal with a player option for 2014.

A major league executive told Slusser that he believed Drew would accept the contract.

Such a deal would give Drew the security of a two-year deal, but it’d also allow him to go back on the market next winter if he turned in a strong 2013 season.

One imagines the Red Sox could trump such an offer if they were so inclined, but their interest in Drew has seemed pretty mild. The Tigers have also inquired about Drew, but they only wanted to do a one-year deal.

Returning from a broken ankle, Drew hit .223/.309/.348 in 79 games with the Diamondbacks and A’s last season. The 29-year-old had his best season with the Diamondbacks in 2008, hitting .291/.333/.502 with 21 homers in 611 at-bats.

Report: Mariners, Josh Hamilton talk three-year deal

Josh Hamilton
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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners and free agent Josh Hamilton have discussed three-year deals worth $20 million-$25 million per season.

There have been mixed messages on whether the two sides are nearing a deal or not, but the door seems wide open, what with the Rangers concentrating on Zack Greinke and Justin Upton at the moment.

Besides Seattle and maybe Texas, Hamilton isn’t known to have negotiated with any club this winter. The Phillies are one team that could conceivably slot Hamilton in, especially now that they’ve filled center field with a minimum-salaried player in Ben Revere. However, they’re working on a Michael Young deal in which they’d take on about $8 million and they also figure to sign a pitcher to replace Vance Worley.

Hamilton met with the Red Sox at the meetings, but that was before Boston signed Shane Victorino. The Red Sox will likely only be interested if he begins to look like a bargain.

At $20 million per year, Hamilton would seem to be just that, considering that Victorino got $13 million per year. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 homers and 128 RBI for the Rangers last season.

Report: Cubs to re-sign non-tendered third baseman Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart
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Ian Stewart, reportedly healthy again after wrist surgery, is set to re-sign with the Cubs, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that it’s a one-year, $2 million deal with up to $500,000 in incentives.

Stewart hit .156/.243/.221 in 122 at-bats for the Rockies in 2011 and .201/.292/.335 in 179 at-bats with the Cubs last year, but the hope is that the wrist surgery will allow him to turn his career around at age 27 next year.

Once considered one of the game’s top prospects, Stewart never met expectations in Colorado. Still, he wasn’t a complete bust, either, hitting .246/.334/.454 with 53 homers in 1,077 at-bats from 2008-10. As weak as the third-base market is this winter, it made more sense for the Cubs to give him another shot than it did to overspend for an outsider.